WEDNESDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER
READ: ACTS 3:1-10
Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Today Jesus wants to take our crippled souls, lame with sin and small expectations, and raise them up!
"The healing is an instantaneous strengthening of the lame man’s feet and ankles as Peter raised him up. Here and in verse 6 the verb for “raised” (Greek egeirō) is the same word used for Jesus’ resurrection (Luke 24: 34), hinting that the same Holy Spirit by whom Jesus was raised from the dead now raises up the lame man. Luke graphically accents the healed man’s joy and excitement: he leaped up, stood, and walked around. The man’s exhilaration is unmistakable as he goes into the temple with Peter and John, walking and jumping and praising God. His excitement is even more understandable because now he is entering the temple as part of the worshiping community instead of begging at the gate. For those who witness it, the healing is a sign that the messianic age has arrived, as God had promised: “Then the lame shall leap like a stag” (Isa 35: 6); “for you who fear my name, the sun of justice / will arise with healing in its wings; / And you will go out leaping like calves from the stall” (Mal 3: 20)."
We live in an time that is skeptical of miracles. We may think that miraculous healing is something from the past, or made up to give Jesus and the Apostles credibility. The reality of our faith is that we believe miracles happen all the time. We believe that miraculous physical healing still happens today. We can ask for it, and in confident expectant faith, know that God hears us even if the healing doesn't come about. Why? Because physical healing is a sign of an even deeper healing miracle that although unseen, happens more frequently. The healing of our souls from sin. How often do we shoot ourselves in the foot through sin? How often do we cripple ourselves, and are unable to "enter the temple" so to speak; unable to worship God with a soul, empowered by his grace, able to stand up straight before Him? A lot, and a lot more often than we might want to admit. Miraculously, God continually re-raised us from this crippled state. In our personal prayer, in the Eucharist, and in Confession, God strengthens our failing faith and heals our wounded hearts, so that we can leap for joy in the freedom of worship and gratitude. Yet often we are not content to be beggars. We become impatient and with a self reliant heart, demand that we "do better". We try to walk with broken legs. Notice how the beggar goes to the temple everyday. He doesn't give up. Neither should we. It's okay to rely on God, he loves to give. In fact, it's necessary. We can't be healed without is help. So, the next time that you find yourself unable to receive communion because of that one sin you can't seem to get over; or frustrated by the small imperfections you find in yourself. Whenever you realize that you aren't yet a "good enough" person at work, or school, or in your family: turn to the Lord and ask him to raise you up. Turn to him and ask him to help you repent. Turn to him and ask him to remind you who you are. Turn to Him and be raised up in his grace and love. Allow him to show you in those moments what is truly important, and allow him to perform a miracle in you soul. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."(Hebrews 4: 15-16)
Do you believe God is still working miracles today?
How have you experienced God's grace "raising you up"?
Often miracles are accompanied by Joy. Why do you think that is?
How do you need to be strengthened and "raised up" today?
Italicized section taken from: Kurz SJ, William S. (2014-02-18). Acts of the Apostles (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) (Kindle Locations 1299-1300). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord. Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the LORD, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail. He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. R. Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.
Where are you still crippled? How can you ask God to raise you up?